Volckhausen—Jane Braucher Volckhausen, 100, on January 26, 2019, peacefully, at home in Boulder, Colo., surrounded by her family. Jane was born on July 9, 1918, in Massapequa, N.Y, on Long Island. Her father was director of the National Recreation Association, and her early work was with creative family recreation programs. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in sociology, and at age 20 moved to Geneva, Switzerland, to work for the International Labour Organization. World War II escalation forced her to take one of the last passenger ships sailing to the United States. While working in public housing in Washington, D.C., she met Bob Volckhausen, an organizer of healthcare and food cooperatives. They married in 1947, and lived in Greenbelt, Md., a town built as a model of cooperative housing during the New Deal. Quaker values of simplicity, justice, and caring for all people shaped their lives.
Moving to Hampton, Va., she and Bob joined Virginia Beach (Va.) Meeting. They and their four children demonstrated against the Vietnam War. When she agreed to speak to a small rally against segregation, she found herself in front of television cameras and a huge crowd that broke into applause at her words. Later the family attended the Highlander Folk School, where they were inspired by hearing Martin Luther King Jr. A photograph of Jane with an interracial group of children went out on the Associated Press wire across the country, and Jane and Bob were labeled “Communists.” But they continued undaunted. A recipient of the Olshansky Humanitarian Award and named Hampton Woman of the Year, she was a leader in the League of Women Voters and a member of the local United Nations Association.
She and Bob never forgot how to play, enjoying summers swimming and sailing at their cottage in Monterey, Mass. They danced together every evening until shortly before his death in 2003. She loved theatre, books, music, dance, and song. Her family feels that in the world of Spirit, she is dancing now in the Light with Bob.
When she moved to Boulder, Colo., to live near her son Tom’s family, she blossomed in her new life at the age of 85, finding close friends and immersing herself in the Boulder community. In 2005 she transferred her membership to Boulder Meeting, calling it her spiritual family and being a faithful presence at meeting for worship and meeting fellowship. She remained vigorous, doing errands by foot in her neighborhood, touching people she met. She loved singing with her daughter, Janet Rose; playing Scrabble with her friend Wendy; meeting with her women’s coffee group at Vic’s; and visiting the Monterey cottage and Paul and Karen’s farm in Maine. In her late 90s, on the Peace and Social Justice Committee, she coordinated Boulder Meeting’s letter writing campaigns in response to Friends Committee on National Legislation action alerts. She said while planning one of her three 100th birthday parties, “If it’s going to be a party, there better be dancing.” And dancing there was, led by her son Jim and friend Tamara. She lived her long life with compassion, joy, and commitment to helping to create a better world for all of us. Friends miss her and treasure their memories of her.
Jane is survived by four children, Janet Rose Volckhausen, Paul Volckhausen (Karen), Tom Volckhausen (Françoise Poinsatte), and Jim Volckhausen (Gabrielle); eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.